Blogging The Boys will take a look at some of the NFL Draft prospects that will be in the 2018 NFL Draft class. This early in the season, it’s impossible to know the Cowboys draft position, so we’ll look at a variety of prospects.
Starting last September, we began taking a look at a different potential NFL Draft prospect each week throughout college football season and through the draft process. We saw stocks rise and stocks plummet during the series.
The first edition of the series this year takes us across the DFW area, to the TCU Horned Frogs. The top-15 ranked Frogs are gearing up for a clash with the top-5 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in, oddly enough, AT&T Stadium. Needless to say, there will be no shortage of scouts with their eyes on this early season battle.
Gary Patterson has been known for building defenses filled with athletes that are both big and fast. This season is no different, as Patterson’s squad features a talented front seven built to make TCU a contender in the Big 12 in 2018. Let’s look at one prospect that may potentially grab the attention of those within the Dallas Cowboys.
Ben Banogu — EDGE, TCU Horned Frogs
One of the more intriguing EDGE prospects in the 2019 crop plays his football about an hour away from the Cowboys headquarters in Frisco. Ben Banogu, a lengthy 6-foot-4 EDGE, burst onto the college football scene en route to recording just under 10 sacks as a junior.
Before Banogu emerged as one of the better pass rushers in college football with TCU, the McKinney, Texas, native and Prosper High School almnus began his career in Louisiana with the ULM Warhawks. The former two-star prospect took a redshirt during his first season in The Boot, but splashed as one of the team’s better players the very next season.
As a redshirt freshman, Banogu earned a starting position along ULM’s defensive line. From there, he became a nightmare for opposing offensive lines. Banogu started every game for the Warhawks, recording 45 tackles, 14.5 tackles-for-loss, and five sacks. He was named the Sun Belt Conference’s Newcomer of the Year for his impressive debut season. That was not the last honor he would go on to earn.
Following his big season with Louisiana-Monroe, the Texas native opted to transfer to a bigger school that happened to be closer to where he went to high school. NCAA rules forced him to sit out the 2016 season, but he only improved by the time he stepped back onto the field. Banogu earned the starting spot at LDE for the Horned Frogs before he ever took a snap with his new team. As a result, he put together a season that earned him numerous honors and put him on the radar of NFL scouts.
Banogu’s first season in purple saw him take the Big 12 by storm. The ULM transfer started in all 14 games for Gary Patterson’s squad, racking up 55 total tackles in addition to career-highs in TFLs with 16.5 and in sacks with 8.5. Offensive tackles had no answers and quarterbacks grew tired of seeing No. 15 in their backfield. TCU’s star EDGE earned accolades such as the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and first team all-conference.
Through two weeks in 2017, Banogu has recorded two tackles, one TFL, a sack, and he forced a fumble.
Ben Banogu forcing the fumble was huge. SMU was starting to get a dangerous amount of momentum after the pick. https://t.co/qXioTgaeP6— LandGrant Gauntlet (@the_LGG) September 8, 2018
Where does Banogu stack up among a deep EDGE — and defensive line in general — class? Let’s take a look.
The elite EDGE prospects in the upcoming draft class that immediately come to mind include the likes of Ohio State’s Nick Bosa (yes, Joey Bosa’s younger brother — who some believe may be better than the 2016 Defensive Rookie of the Year), Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat, and Florida State’s Brian Burns, to name just a few. Banogu has a chance to move up to that top tier with a strong senior campaign.
In fact, last December, ESPN’s Todd McShay had Banogu slotted in the first-round of one of his mock drafts for 2018.
Bill Belichick loves to collect versatile edge defenders, and Banogu fits the bill. A former transfer from Louisiana Monroe, he didn’t get much national attention this season but was always around the ball on the tapes I studied and was highly productive (15.5 TFL, 8.5 sacks).
Take that for what it is worth, but it is worth noting that the TCU defender has received some day one hype already. McShay is not the only one high on Banogu, as draft analyst Jonah Tuls had this to say:
Lastly, if you like pass rushers with bend and flexibility (apparently not the NFL)... my two favorites (not named Nick Bosa) are Brian Burns and Ben Banogu. Burns is a top 10 player based on 2017 tape. Banogu is more of a fringe first-second rounder.— Jonah Tuls (@JonahTulsNFL) August 30, 2018
Here are three plays that demonstrate what Ben Banogu can do.
On this first clip, Banogu — playing in his second game with TCU — flies by Arkansas’ left tackle, forcing a stripping the ball out of quarterback Austin Allen’s hand. Banogu finished the contest with 13 total tackles, one TFL, a sack, and a forced fumble.
This next clip shows Banogu again disrupting the play and knocking the ball out of the quarterback’s hand. Banogu is lined up on the top of the screen against right tackle Bobby Evans — a good player in his own right. TCU decides to bring their talented defender inside on a stunt and Banogu blows by OU’s center Erick Wren. As a result, Banogu knocks the ball out of Baker Mayfield’s hand and nearly causes a turnover.
The last clips hows Banogu’s ability to recognize and dissect a play. As he sees Iowa State setting up a quick shovel pass to gain some easy yards, Banogu steps right by the Cyclone’s tackle and wraps the ball carrier up for a loss.
- Scary athleticism
- Explosive speed
Ben Banogu is certainly not a finished product — especially when defending the run — but his unique length and speed makes him a prime candiadate to be a late first or early second round selection come April 2019.
*All stats courtesy of sports-reference.com.